Afternoon, Spider Rock © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who was that masked man?

MMWB is one of my favorite blog readers. A really good and intelligent guy. He was totally anonymous but I managed to uncover his true identity. (He told me.) We never agree on much of anything at all but he can always construct a good argument. Until this one. But I will get to that later.

MMWB is definitely a contrarian.

I remember visiting an amish village once in Pennsylvania with my mother. We noticed some  unusual things in one of the amish homes, maybe it was a light with too many switches or something equally trivial. We asked the amish about the anomaly and they said that their creed came from some arcane statement in the old testament, maybe Leviticus, where they were commanded to be different than the masses.  I remember the fellow telling us that they weren't actually luddites and in fact if the rest of the world went primitive they would probably embrace modernity.

I think that the gap between my ideology and MMWB is that big. His viewpoint is my kryptonite and vice versa.

Now I know this masked man and he is a charming and highly intelligent person. I happen to know that he has a great eye for beauty, having an extra sophisticated eye concerning artwork and a lovely wife to boot. But I know that we both could mutually observe the most simple and trite event and come away with radically different opinions of what we actually witnessed. He is basically a level headed guy. I don't think that he wants to desecrate the planet for mere sport.

Anyway, MMWB, who hasn't commented in a while, deigned to grace the blog with his presence the other day, chiming in on what I thought was a pretty objective, "why can't we all be friends" post of mine on population control. His comment was so full of hyperbole and exaggeration that it would be worthy of a "Sommers Award" if we actually gave them out.

So I will now forensically dissect his post in order to hopefully promote harmony among all the peoples.
My original post is called People Glut - read it here. Here is MMWB's response with my italicized replies.

1. Implement a sterilization plan so that we don't produce too many people.

Wow, shades of the recent death camps argument with health care. The democrats both want to kill your grandmother and not allow you to reproduce unless you and your progeny are needed to work on one of their stalinist collectives. No one is talking sterilization, no one is advocating for a chinese "one child scenario." We just want you to consider the irresponsibility of a world view that imagines an endless supply of resources on a decidedly finite planet.No Shockey, no Orwell, no eugenics, no Brave New World. Just hopefully a conscious return to personal responsibility and the good sense to recognize that there is only so much clean air and water.
2. Go back to a time that was less productive so we can save energy.
Okay, I'll bite. What is the great benefit of industrialization that we would be pining for if we went back to a more balanced lifestyle before smog and mutant frogs? Have we reached some great pinnacle of achievement in this twenty first century that nobody told me about? Besides the flush toilet?
2A. Give up the big energy users: medical, information, commmunication, transportation, etc.
No, find better alternatives that do a better job conserving dwindling resources. The internal combustion engine has been around with very few changes in basic design for about 120 years, way out of date for a major techno overhaul. Look how fast the car companies got off their ass on hybrids and alternatives recently when they finally got a little push from government. Detroit spent all those years pushing hummers and gas guzzlers, mpg actually went down industrywide since the 70's. Of course, Americans think they have a god given right to consume. The question comes down to fair share. And our responsibility to fix those environmental problems that we have created. I don't think info and medical are big energy users, you are correct, communication devices are consuming more and more power. The flight from newsprint to portable devices and kindles is probably an energy saver.
3. Stop using the resources available to us so we can help the planet from getting too warm (or at least that's what we were being told until it was discovered that the planet was getting cooler). 
Oh, the big climate conspiracy! The polar bears are buying hawaiian shirts and wearing shades because it is getting so cold that they are losing all the ice at the north pole. Not withstanding the fact that the great majority of climate scientists are in general agreement on both global heating and cooling, an off shoot of the pollution layer insulating the atmosphere. The argument is over the amount of heating we can ascribe to forcing. A very excellent breakdown by climate skeptic Richard Lindzen of MIT in the WSJ recently. Which has been refuted but is a good place to start. MIT also produced a study in May that said that temperatures in 2100 could double earlier projections. Should we prepare for the worst and look at the consequences of our actions or just figure that if it all goes down the crapper that it was just part of god's plan? I have heard several conservatives opine that if the animals can not adapt, then we just don't need them around. Any idea of symbiosis and the interconnectedness of man and the planet gets hit with a Cheney like buckshot blast with this type of thinking. Yes the planet will probably get along fine without humans but shouldn't we try to extend our stay for as long as possible?
4. Stop using the resources available to us so we can help the planet from experiencing climate change (although the history of the world is a history of climate change).
Do you think that anything we do matters? Is there a conceivable limit to the amount of exhaust we pump into the atmosphere or radioactive material that is seeping into our water (see Moab, Colorado River) or plastic continent sized masses of chemical leeching plastic in our oceans that give you any cause for concern? Yes the world has experienced major climate shifts, does that mean we need to accentuate them? The dinosaurs lost a species every thousand years, we lose one every seventeen minutes, but who needs them?
5. Pretend that we are so powerful and impactful that we are the cause of climate change; Greenland used to be green with trees before it became covered with ice. (see the viking communities discovered under the ice.)
I trust that the communities were full of "dead" vikings?
6. Blame the poverty and starvation on the number of people instead of those who deny the shipment of food to the hungy (Somalia, North Korea, etc.) and because you don't understand that faith = a belief strong enought to act, add a misguided blame of believers in deity instead of researching far enough to see that orgainzed religion provides food & relief to millions of people each year
I applaud all that organized religion does for the hungry every year, unfortunately it's not enough. Estimates are that 1.02 Billion people are currently hungry and malnourished. Loss of agrarian land due to global warming, drought and rising tide levels are not going to help matters any.
7. Make policy that will maintain the poverty of third world countries,(energy is what fuels the creation of wealth), and commit to cover the expenses of other countries while limiting our own economic growth, thus making it impossible to make the payments for said commitments.
No, lets continue to finance dictatorships like Myanmar and friendly monarchies in the middle east and turn a blind eye to their treatment of their own people while we suck up their reserves. Look at the lawsuits against Chevron in South America for environmental devastation or the problems in Nigeria today with Shell. 
8. Make policy about energy use while sitting in a heated building, using a computer and without asking the opinion of those who live without energy.
Got me there. It's warm in here. Honey, Can you turn that down?
9. Pretend that there aren't sufficient energy sources avilable even though the United States has enough resources (oil, coal, shale, wind, sun, nuclear) to last for hundreds & hundreds of years, within our borders.
Remind me to send you some information on what uranium mining has meant to the navajos, from a public health standpoint. Check out the recent leukemia clusters at Kettleman City. Look at the people in Tennessee whose homes are now under toxic ash after the TVA dams broke last year. You mentioned the sun and wind - there is hope for you, friend. As a person who loves the outdoors, especially Utah and Montana, I am scared that we are going to pillage every remaining shred of wilderness in our quest to satiate our belching gluttony.
10. Whenever anyone questions our misguided green beliefs, attack, attack, attack. Call them names, question their spiritual beliefs, suggest that they are vapid and incapable of understanding the greater good & wisdom you posess. All this and more, because nothing covers up the truth better than vitriol & violence.
I don't want to attack. I want to point out that if you hold the common judeo christian belief that man is the penultimate expression of god's love and is exalted above the plants and animals in his or her dominion, or that we are fast approaching end times or rapture, and the whole thing is moot, it might make it more difficult for those of us who wish to stick around.
What a staggering, bewildering, myopic understanding of the earth's resources and of the worth of man.

Worth of man?  That's another blog in itself. I'll spare you. Your comments are always appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

#6. Although there were 1.02 billion still hungry, that number was calculated at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. By 7 o'clock that evening the number was down to a million six and most of them were on a diet.